So originally this week the plan was to make some sort of savory bread pudding dish. I wasn’t quite sure where I was going with the concept, but it’s been getting colder and some comforting carb-y casserole seemed like the way to go. But as I was debating, I remembered I still had egg noddles in my pantry from the kugel experiment, and how I’d said I would try to make a non-dessert-like kugel. So, that’s what I did!
6 ounces egg noddles
2 tablespoons butter
2 large leaves of kale, chopped into little pieces
1 granny smith apples
1-2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Cook the egg noodles until just shy of al dente (or, if you are me, until they are done). Drain and stick back into the pot. Add the butter and let it melt into the noodles, stirring so all the noodles are covered in butter. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Mix in salt, pepper, kale, and cheese. Add the apples, and noodles and mix the whole thing together thoroughly with your hands – try to get the kale and cheese evenly distributed. Add the milk while you mix. Stick in a baking dish and bake, covered for 30ish minutes at 375. Serve warm or room temperature.
This was really good!! The egg kinda ended up on the bottom creating a sort of egg-y base, but it was still quite tasty. I was skeptical that I had used enough cheese, but it ended up working out extremely well. Yay!! All in all I’d call this recipe a major success, and both cheese and kale complimented the apples surprisingly well. Song of the Week: Sing by Pentatonix. I finally broke down and bought the new Pentatonix album! I was actually going to go with “Can’t Stop Love” but I’m kinda obsessed with Sing. It’s so uplifting and anthemic, and makes me feel awesome about life. So listen to it and feel good!
Seriously, the weather in DC has been gorgeous for the last week or two. Warm, sunny but without the humidity that makes you die a little that happens in the summer. So I wanted to celebrate the sunshine a bit and have a sunshine-y meal. Naturally, this meant lots of yellow. I was considering lemon cupcakes, but instead I decided to make a casserole. So – I used yellow as my base – polenta – and yellow as my main veggie – yellow bell pepper. The result was very pretty.
Sunshine Polenta Casserole
3/4 cup polenta
2 1/4 cup water
1/3 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/3 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
gouda cheese, grated
Boil the water with some salt. Add the polenta and boil, stirring constantly, making sure to get rid of any lumps that formed. Cook until soft and no longer grainy. Spread in a casserole dish and set aside. Toss the onion, bell pepper, and garlic with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on top of the polenta. Then add the dried basil and the grated cheese. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until it starts turning golden. Serve warm.
Oh this was soo good. Fairly simple and easy to throw together, and the flavors all mesh well together. It tastes a little sweet and I think it is very sunshine-y, which of course was the goal. I had this with a Malbec-Syrah blend from Argentina. It might not be cold yet, but I’ve switched to red wine from white. Song of the week: Sunshine Superman by Donovan. I love Donovan; even though his quality is uneven at best his good stuff is gold. This isn’t actually my favorite Donovan song, but it seems particularly apt for the week.
This week I had a terribly difficult time trying to find a new recipe which seemed appealing to do. So I was talking it over with my BFF and she suggested I try making kugel, which I’d never made before, and sent over he family’s favorite recipe, which is for apple kugel. It looked pretty tasty, but going over the recipe I was like, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, apples … wait a sec, is this a dinner dish or a dessert? She assured me it was a dinner dish, although suggested I pair it with something healthy, like a salad.
8 ounces egg noddles
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup raisins
2 granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
Cook the egg noodles until just shy of al dente (or, if you are me, until they are done). Drain and stick back into the pot. Add the butter and let it melt into the noodles, stirring so all the noodles are covered in butter. Toss with the applesauce as well. In a large bowl, bear the eggs, egg whites, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla. Add the apple, raisins, and noodles and mix the whole thing together thoroughly. Stick in a pan (I used both my 8X8 and my oval baking dish – this makes a lot). Now, the recipe said to cover, bake at 350 for 45 minutes, and then 15 uncovered at 375 for the final 15. However, I didn’t have aluminum foil, and didn’t feel like buying any, so uncovered at 375 for 30 minutes it was! Serve warm or room temperature.
This was incredibly tasty, but I’m not convinced it isn’t secretly a dessert. It tastes like a dessert, noodles not withstanding. I had this with a green salad and a reisling, as I figured a slightly sweeter wine would work better (and it did!!) Also, this dish makes for an awesome breakfast the next day. Just a warning – the recipe makes a ton of food, so I’m hoping my BFF was right and it really does freeze well. Song of the Week: Sunday Morning by Maroon 5. For some reason this song just spoke to me this week. I had a ton of anxiety that I soothed by listening to this song on repeat until I was calm.
Have you ever accidentally bought an ingredient, forgot that you did, and then got more of it? I did that this past week with red bell peppers. Which I love, but there is only one of me, and there were 3 of them. So naturally this week, I needed to make a bell pepper-based recipe, and I was thinking stuffed, but i wasn’t sure with what. While I was at my neighborhood bar, reading and having a glass of wine, I realized that clearly it should be polenta. Everything just kinda fell into place after that. This is a fairly summer-y recipe but since the high was 25 degrees outside, I needed a little summer.
2 large red bell peppers
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup polenta
3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 onion, chopped
3-4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
grated strong cheese
Cut the bell peppers in half, rub with olive oil, and roast at 400 for 20 minutes, or until they are soft, but still hold their shape. In the meantime, saute the onions and garlic and set aside. Boil the vegetable broth and add the polenta, stirring continuously and breaking up any lumps until it is thick and smooth. Add the onions, garlic, parsley, and tomatoes to the polenta and mix thoroughly. Fill the bell pepper halves with the polenta mixture, and top with a strong cheese – I used parrano. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and ideally beginning to brown.
The result. Good stuff, man. Good stuff. A slightly more time-consuming recipe than a weekday night would prefer, but balanced, filling, and ripe for plenty of variations. I had this with a nice malbec, but it would go equally well with white wine I think. Don’t bother with beer for this one though, its better to go with wine. Song of the week: Pina Colada in a Pint Glass by Gaelic Storm. Meshes perfectly with my mood this week – even though I don’t like pina coladas. I really wish I was on a tropical island somewhere rather than in the icy/cold/snow right now too.
We’ve all been there – when you don’t have a real amount of stuff in your fridge, but have just enough that you are too lazy to go to the grocery store because its not empty per se. Situations like this give you limited options – one of which is the “odds and ends casserole.” It’s one of those situations in which you are trying to cook something tasty with what happens to be around. Now, everyone’s fridge is different, but my odds-and-ends casserole involved summer squash, potatoes, and cheese. I’m fairly certain you could change veggies with this recipe easily enough, but don’t quote me on that.
1 large yellow potato
1 summer squash/zucchini
1/3 cup chopped onion
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Zap the potato in the microwave for a couple minutes, just enough so that its not raw, but not so much that it is thoroughly cooked. Chop in into smallish chunks and toss it into a bowl. Add the zucchini, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and mix them all together. Take a baking pan, and grease it with the butter. Leave small hunks of butter scattered over the bottom of the pan. Add the veggies. Scatter the cheese over the whole thing, and bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. (The reason you half-cook the potato first is so that you don’t kill the zucchini in the baking process, waiting for the potatoes to cook).
The result was pretty good. Not spectacular or anything – I’d have needed some fresh herbs and a stronger cheese to get it up there. But for an odds-and-ends casserole, it was quite good. Of course, you add enough garlic and cheese to pretty much anything and I’ll be happy. This is a good proto-type casserole. Potato, veggie, seasonings, cheese. Basic, easy, and with infinite variations, as a good odds-and-ends dish should be. In the spirit of the dish, you should pair it with whatever beer or wine you have handy. Song of the week: Irreplaceable by Beyonce. Because Beyonce is Queen – even if she isn’t your thing, she’s earned that from the world. And I love the sentiment of the song – I mean who manages to make a break-up song be all self-empowered? And, while B may be fabulous, this is one of her few songs that I truly love (the other two being Crazy in Love and Single Ladies).